Peter Reid admits it's 'a fact of life' that Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook has been strongly linked with the Sunderland managerial vacancy.
Cook has found himself among the favourites for the post since Jack Ross was sacked earlier this week.
Reid, who guided Sunderland to two seventh-place finishes in the Premier League during his seven-and-a-half years in charge between 1995 and 2002, believes it was a harsh call to part company with Ross after less than 18 months.
And having worked on Cook's backroom staff since the start of last season, Reid is not surprised to see his pal being linked with the job.
"That’s a fact of life,” said Reid, after being presented with a Legend Award by the North East Football Writers’ Association on Thursday night.
“I know he’s happy with Wigan, well he was this morning, I haven’t spoken to him since.”
Sunderland are believed to have drawn up a shortlist of targets, and Reid knows time is of the essence regarding an appointment.
“They need to get a manager in, I think they have the players to get out of this league and that’s the priority," said Reid, speaking to the Sunderland Echo, sister paper of the Wigan Post.
Another name in the frame is that of former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips, who has openly admitted he wants the job.
Following coaching roles at Leicester, Derby and Stoke, some may question if Phillips, 46, is the right fit for the Black Cats due to his lack of managerial experience.
Reid, though, still believes Sunderland could appoint a younger manager.
“He’s coached at clubs, he’s done well with that coaching,” said Reid when asked about Phillips.
“I’ve been asked do they need someone with experience. My first job was as a player manager at Man City, I did all right there.
“Experience is a funny thing because I do think experienced mangers are really good.
"There are some good young managers out there, though, Chris Wilder is a young manager, kicked on. You need a chance to show what you’ve got.”